Tanaka Nobuo

Tanaka commanded 29 Independent Mixed Brigade in Thailand in 1944. He was ordered to Burma on 10 May 1944 to temporarily relieve Yanagida as commander of 33 Division after Yanagida hesitated to continue the U-Go advance on Imphal. Tanaka issued the order (Lewin 1976):

Now is the time to capture Imphal .... it must be expected that the division will be almost annihilated ... in order to keep the honour of his unit bright, a commander may have to use his sword as a weapon of punishment.

Tanaka's private views, confided in his diary, were somewhat less stirring (Allen 1984):

The officers and men look dreadful. They've let their hair and beards grow, and look just like wild men of the mountains. More than a hundred days have passed since the operation began and in all that time there's been almost nothing to eat and there's not an ounce of fat left on any of them. They all look pale and skinny from undernourishment. People at home would not even be able to imagine what they've gone through.

Tanaka was promoted to lieutenant general and given permanent command of the division in June 1944. By then the division had lost 70% of its strength and was retreated back into central Burma. The division lost most of its remaining strength in suicidal attacks against the British bridgehead on the Irrawady in February 1945. The division had retreated into Thailand by the time of the general surrender.

Tanaka was tall at 6' (183 cm) and sported a huge mustache.

Service record

Commander, 51 Independent Battalion

Commander, 4 Area, 1 Border Defense Unit

Commander, 211 Regiment, China
Major general     
Commandant, Toyohashi Army Training School

Commander, Infantry Group, 12 Division

Commander, 15 Independent Mixed Brigade

Commander, 66 Brigade

Commander, 29 Independent Mixed Brigade, Thailand

Acting commander, 33 Division, Burma
Lieutenant general     
Commander, 33 Division, Burma


Allen (1984)

Fuller (1992) (accessed 2008-7-5)

Lewin (1976)

Pettibone (2007)

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